A husband and wife with a teenage daughter found their way to Intuit® tax professional Kathy Wills about four years ago. What started out as a professional relationship became much more personal two years later, when the daughter suffered a life-altering injury and the parents found themselves deluged with medical bills.
“He works a wage job repairing equipment and she is a tutor working out of her home,” writes Kathy in the story she submitted to our Meet the Difference Makers Contest earlier this year. For her account of the ongoing support she has given to the family, Kathy was selected as one of the contest’s grand prize winners.
“Their daughter was in a car accident, giving her a concussion from which she will never fully recover,” continues Kathy. “She went from accepting a full university scholarship to struggling to complete a single class.”
Even as the family struggled with the daughter’s recovery, the medical bills remained unpaid, throwing the family into near bankruptcy while they waited for the insurance to be settled.
“They had to repeatedly take their daughter on a three-hour drive to a specialist,” Kathy explains. “Medical bills, travel expenses … it kind of evolved into what it was. They did not have a huge income. The last thing they needed was to fall behind on their tax returns.”
Kathy’s response? “I have continued to provide tax services for free – payroll tax, year-end reports and income tax – since the accident. I plan to continue to do so until they are showing some recovery in their finances.”
The daughter’s own recovery continues to be a challenge, even though physically she appears unaffected.
“She’s now a struggling student who used to be top of her class,” says Kathy. “Her reasoning power and her memory have suffered. She will never be able to live alone because of this incident.”
Thanks to a growing support circle, however, that may never be necessary.
“She was married last month,” Kathy reports. “It doesn’t take away from the struggle, but she has the fortitude to handle this – which is a blessing.”
Aside from the life-altering impact of the daughter’s injury, Kathy was motivated to make a difference because of the family’s own amazingly giving nature.
“They give of themselves beyond what anyone would expect,” she says. “They always seem to have 12 extra things going on in their lives that others don’t. Their latest efforts include caring for and hopefully adopting an abused toddler. They deserve to have help, and I am giving it.”
Kathy continues: “If someone is down, you do what you can to help them up. It’s one of the pillars of our faith.”
An accounting and tax professional for 31 years, Kathy is self-employed and now works from home. After being employed at a firm that performed a lot of tax services, she slowly became more involved in that aspect of the profession. It was a “baptism by fire” in her words, but these days, taxes are the main focus and accounting is a sideline.
And, because taxes can be very complicated, Kathy is happy to rely on Intuit® ProConnect™ Lacerte® software and the expert technical support that comes with it.
“I rarely have trouble resolving issues,” she says. “The support people are terrific. I’ve been very pleased over the years.”
As one of the first 200 contest entrants, Kathy received an entry prize package – but she hoped that there might be more to come.
“When I got the initial prize package, I said, ‘I wonder if I’m going to get chosen for a grand prize’?”
Among everything that’s included in the grand prize package, Kathy is most excited about the advertising for her practice, designed and paid for by Intuit.
“The advertising will suit me well right now,” she says. “Getting professional help on design and writing will be very helpful. It was quite a draw for me.”
Kathy knows the value of professional help, including her own.
“I like being able to help people navigate the maze,” she says of tax preparation. “There are so many potholes and complications. I like helping people avoid those pitfalls and headaches.”